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Palisades security supervisors sue Entergy, allege company owes eight years of overtime pay

Jan 5, 2015

Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

More than a dozen security officers are suing Entergy, the company that owns the Palisades Nuclear Plant.

Eighteen current and former security supervisors filed the federal lawsuit in Grand Rapids in late December, after a jury in Vermont found Entergy guilty in a similar case.

In the Vermont case, the judge found Entergy “willfully” violated four security supervisors’ right to overtime pay for five years under federal labor laws. The damages amounted to a little more than half million dollars.

In the case against Palisades, the supervisors say Entergy hasn’t paid them for overtime since the company bought the plant in 2007 from Consumer’s Energy. 

Similar cases have been filed in Louisiana and Massachusetts.

Palisades spokeswoman Lindsay Rose declined an interview on the pending case. But in a written statement said “regardless of the eventual outcome, Entergy is committed to safely, securely and reliably operating Palisades.” Rose wrote, “Entergy always strives to create a fair, equitable and safe work environment for all of our employees, and the company remains committed to this objective.”

The company is asking for a new trial in the case in Vermont.

Katherine Smith Kennedy, who’s representing the supervisors in the case, says she was contacted by an attorney in Massachusetts who’s working on a similar case.

She says most of her clients still work at the plant. She expects to add at least another four more supervisors to join the case.

“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Smith Kennedy said of the workers’ willingness to sue their current employer.

She did not know how much money the supervisors are owed in total.

She says when Entergy bought Palisades in 2007 the company “basically slapped the title of supervisor on (these employees)” even though they do not have the authority to hire or fire employees and most of the decisions they do make are based on very formulaic procedures, she said.

“They don’t have independent discretion,” Kennedy Smith said.